South Africa

05/05/2004 - Packing

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Having a bit of trouble fitting everything in! We have bought too much. We have just weighed our bags, and think we are a couple of kilos under the 46kg limit, with full hand luggage too.

04/05/2004 - Diving with the sharks

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Not a great photo this one, but you can make out one of the ragged tooth sharks at the front, and in the background is me (Stuart) in his scuba gear, diving in the tank. They have a few giant rays in there too, and a great big turtle, along with loads of large fish. It was great to see them up close!

04/05/2004 - Ragged tooth shark

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Apologies to Andy if you look at this one.

This is one of the 4 ragged tooth sharks that the two oceans aquarium keeps in the predators tank.

02/05/2004 - Augrabies falls

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We were told that they are at their lowest water level of the year at the moment. We have seen pictures where they look much better.

02/05/2004 - Augrabies flat lizard

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There were hundreds of these around the falls viewpoints. The males are incredibly colourful and shone in the sun.

02/05/2004 - Augrabies falls national park

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A very small national park that we stopped at on our drive back to Cape Town, and we were very glad we did. Not that much wildlife to be seen, but the scenary was amazing.

02/05/2004 - Klipspringer

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This tiny antelope has eluded us till now, but in our final park we saw a pair. Quite friendly they were too.

01/05/2004 - Get out of there!

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We made a toilet stop at one of the picnic areas. I went in and was, well, mid flow, when I heard Clare say "oh my god. move. get out now!". "what" I replied, looking up. Clare said "big snake" at about the same time that I looked into the eyes of a large cape cobra, hood puffed up and standing on the wall at about my head level. I did move quickly then, and shortly after it fell into the urinal, and stayed there for a while.

We left a sign saying "warning, cape cobra in toilets" and left. We looked it up afterwards. "Lightning fast", and "bite causes paralysis and death" were the two parts that stuck in my mind!

30/04/2004 - Red hartebeest

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We have seen a couple of these antelope before, but there were loads at this park.

We did see one pride of lions, but there was no male, so we didn't get to see the black mane. No leopards or cheetahs once again.

29/04/2004 - Kgalagadi National park

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We made a detour from our planned route to go to the Kgalagadi trans frontier park, which is supposed to be a predator hot spot, and is home to the Kalahari black maned lions.

We saw lots of Wildebeest!

23/02/2004 - Wild dogs

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23/02/2004 - Lion

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Kruger is one of the hot spots for Lions, about 16,000 in the park, so we thought we were bound to see loads.....

"Lion Drive" had nothing, the guided night drive which virtually guarantees big cat sightings had nothing.

Then just as we were driving out this morning, after nearly 30 hours of looking, Hoorah, a pride of lions lying by the road.

(Still didn't see any leapard or cheetah though)

21/02/2004 - Impala

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Impalla are the most common deer (or antelope??) here. We have seen hundreds and hundreds....

20/02/2004 - Elephant

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We drove into Kruger national park on Friday, for the start of 4 days game viewing.

We have seen quite a few elephants now. This one was very close to the road, and started flapping its ears and looking agitated. We left sharpish!

18/02/2004 - Swaziland

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A quick dip into a new country. Not as beautiful as Lesotho, but still a lovely drive.

17/02/2004 - Rhino

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We spent a long day in Hluluwe-Umfolozi park, one of the hot spots for Rhino. It took us about 11 hours of driving to spot our first one, and then like buses there were loads.

17/02/2004 - Giraffe

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Did you know that giraffe only sleep for 20 minutes a day!!!!

17/02/2004 - Baboons

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Baboons are easy to spot, usually walking down the road, in huge troups.

16/02/2004 - Hippo!

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We have just got back from a 2 hour boat ride on the St Lucia lake, looking for hippos. It exceeded our expectations. We saw loads of Hippos, crocodiles, sea eagles, goliath herons (1.5metres tall), kingfishers, and many other birds.

15/02/2004 - And another one

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During the day hippos generally just lie about int he water with just their eyes showing (like in the other photo). We were lucky to see a male and female get out of the water and have a little wander. The male even did that famous hippo yawn (which we have photos of on the other camera). Couldn't have hoped for more.

14/02/2004 - Traditional Lesotho huts

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small, with conical thatched roofs.

We stayed at a lovely guesthouse that night, perched right at the edge of a plateau. Fantastic views over Sani Pass (when the clouds didn't come in and cover the whole area), the route down and across the border back into South Africa.

We got up at 5ish on Sunday, watched the sunrise, and then started our descent......

Glad we knew about the no need to use the brake thing!

14/02/2004 - More mountains...

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a bit more of the drive.

14/02/2004 - The kingdom in the sky

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On valentines day we drove pretty much the full width of Lesotho. It is about the size of Belgium (about 230 miles across), but the drive took us around 10 hours! Very bumpy track twisting its way through the mountains.

Lesotho is a mountainous country. The entire place is over 1000m above sea level.

13/02/2004 - Dinasour footprints

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OK, so this isn;t actually in South Africa. This, and the next few photos are all in Lesotho, a country entirely enclosed by South Africa.

We stayed at a trading post just over the border, and nearby are some dinasour footprints in the rock, estimated to be 180 million years old. Rather hard to make out. We had a nice walk up there accompanied by these four though!

12/02/2004 - Mountain Zebra national park

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A very quiet park with few visitors, and home to the rare mountain zebra. As yet we aren't entirely sure what the difference is to the common Burchell's zebra, but we'll let you know. They live on mountains though! Hopefully you can make a couple out at the bottom of the pic.

We also saw quite a few antelope here (kudu, impala, hartebeest) and some black wildebeest.

11/02/2004 - Addo elephant national park

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This national park has the highest concentration of elephants in South Africa. They have over 300 in the park, and we must have seen about half of them. This was a lonely male that has been ejected from his herd. He wandered alone, this time down the road towards our car. He was much bigger than our car, and weighs about twice as much! (5 tonnes ish)

10/02/2004 - Addo at night

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The best place to see the elephants was at this water hole right next to the camp. We went there on the evening we arrived, and sat for an hour watching them. A large herd of about 30 were there drinking, then another small herd turned up and waited. Then another, and another. There were about 70 elephants there all in all.

09/02/2004 - Wildlife.

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Not sure what these were, but they were sunning themselves on the rocks when we emerged from our tent this morning.

Lemmings perhaps????

09/02/2004 - A walk in the park

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A lovely morning walk in Tsitsikamma park, through the forests, along the beaches, and over this bridge (which had a school of about 25 sharks swimming underneath).

09/02/2004 - Roof tent

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We spent the night at Tsitsikamma National Park ("The Place Of Much Water"). A beautiful campsite on the rocky coast, with waves crashing and winds howling.....

Do you like our sleeping quarters for the next 3 months????

07/02/2004 - Bush fire

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As it is summer here and very, very hot, bush fires are quite common. We have already passed a few, this one burning very fiercly right up to both sides of the road. You could feel the heat in the car. We were a bit worried that a spark might have set our tent on fire, but no such problems.

We will soon be heading North, where it is rainy season, so shouldn't be a problem there!

06/02/2004 - Cape of Good Hope

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We spent a pleasant afternoon touring around the Cape penninsula. Lots of gold sandy beaches, a beatiful drive winding around the mountains, and the Cape itself.

06/02/2004 - 4x4 Driving course

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Who new that you can go down VERY steep hills, without touching the brake?????!!!!

I didn't, so it was very scary trying to stop instinctively slamming those brakes on.

It was great fun, going up and down very steep bumpy rocky terrain, driving through soft sand and getting stuck!!

But we survived, and even got certificates to prove it!

05/02/2004 - Baboons

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I think we will see quite a few baboons on the trip. We have seen a lot already. They seem to like terrorising people, especially those with food.

02/02/2004 - penguins

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Penguins were nearly extinct on Robben island a while ago, but now there is a thriving population of around 45000. Bigger than the fairy penguins we saw before, but still small. They didn't do much! Just stood there sunning themselves.

02/02/2004 - Nelson Mandela

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We both read Nelson Mandela's "long walk to freedom" book about a month ago, so we knew the background of the struggle to free the country from apartheid. It was great to see the places he talks about in his book. The tennis court where he played, the garden he lovingly grew, the quarry where he was forced to work, and this, the cell where he spent 18 years of his life.

We were shown around by a former political prisoner, who could tell us in his own words how hard it was to be a prisoner there.

(Not a great photo. Its the story thats important!)

02/02/2004 - Wildlife!

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On Robben island. They are European Rose deer though! We haven't seen any other big mammals yet. A few lizards and birds. Tiny little brightly coloured sunbirds on top of table mountain.

02/02/2004 - Table mountain

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from Table bay, on the way to Robben island.

01/02/2004 - View from Table mountain

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The first day we were here in Cape Town, Table mountain was shrouded in its table cloth of cloud. The second day was totally and utterly clear, with incredibly blue sky. We got in the revolving cable car up to the top, and what a view!